The courses are conducted by Ari Shekeryan, who has started his studies at the Faculty of Turkic Studies at the University of Istanbul, and then continued his academic career at Oxford University, where he studied the political views of the Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire after the genocide.
"I have previously had the opportunity to study the historical facts about the Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire, but this time it was much more interesting to reflect on the political stance of Armenians living in Turkey after World War I. To examine the historical facts, how Armenians continued to live in Turkey after the genocide, keeping their own existence in a certain way. This is a very important topic for understanding how the Armenians, fearing from the second genocide, forced deportations and murders, support the Turks," – he said.
Ari Shekeryan was born in Istanbul, his father was born in Istanbul, and his mother was born in Sebastia. Ari studied at Armenian schools and later decided that he wanted to have a good knowledge of Turkish history and language and studied Turkish studies at Istanbul University. "Of course, Turkish studies are different in Armenia and Turkey. In Turkey, it is studied by linguists, so there is no need to spend time studying the language, instead of studying Ottoman and linguistics, and in Armenia it is a bit different. Here, students study the language for a few years, and Turkish students just do not need it," - says Ari.
On the other hand, when Ari speaks about the similarity and difference between Armenian and Turkish students, it is particularly stressing that Armenian students are industrious and responsible: "If I assign task my Armenian students, then it's obvious that at the next meeting they have read and studied all at home. There are also excellent professionals, which makes it possible to organize similar courses," - says Ari. Answering the question how he assesses the present stage of the Armenian-Turkish relations, Ari replies: "During Gul's visit, we developed Armenian-Turkish relations with the so-called "football politics ", and that term had the same name in Armenia."
But so far the Turkish society is dumb towards the topics related to Armenian issues. The Turks are now neither positive nor negative, but here's what's interesting - when talking about these topics with Armenian students, they are able to analyze the situation in Turkey more in details. Probably, having the opportunity to look out from the outside makes it even more visible," - explains the speaker.
Referring to the question whether Turks are tolerant of ethnic minorities, especially Armenians, Ari says Istanbul is a cosmopolitan city where people are accustomed to foreigners and know that they will be Armenian or Greek. This idea also makes people living in Istanbul smile all the newcomers, though there are disagreements over the Syrian refugees in Turkey, but they have never said that all Armenians should return to Armenia, even though Armenians have about seventy members’ community there.
Speaking about future plans, Ari says he intends to write a book about the topics he has studied at Oxford University: "I work on several articles that should be published in scientific journals. I think in future I will continue to engage in research on Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire."